Nine Top Hotel Staffers
Published: May 2010
The Comforts of Home: I love to create memorable experiences for guests. I’ve taught children to ride bikes on the village green, which is the perfect place for a soft landing. There are also always fun events for the holidays. On July 4th we host a carnival; later, in the fall, there’s a 5K Turkey Trot, and in December I organize a Christmas Eve Elf Tuck-In. Santa’s elves visit cottages and read bedtime stories. Doubles from $650.
Water Views: Alakai nalu means “leader of the waves.” My job is to expand our guests’ knowledge of and respect for the ocean by taking them sailing, canoe paddling, windsurfing, and snorkeling. If something goes wrong, that’s my job, too. I once searched for a diamond ring a guest had lost in the ocean and found it three days later. She was ecstatic! Doubles from $775.
Green Team: The housekeeping department doesn’t just make sure that rooms are in perfect order. The 57 acres of the hotel property should be immaculate as well. That’s why I created a program called Conserve to Preserve, which encourages staffers to produce less trash and use less energy; we also offer training courses in being green to the local community. Guests may not be aware of some of the initiatives, but no one overlooks the white-sand beaches. Doubles from $590.
All in the Delivery: I am a master at towel art, and swans are my most impressive design. But I try to do more for the guests than just decorate the room. A newly married couple wanted to dine on cooked lobster while paddling in a dugout canoe. I caught two lobsters, which required a special permit; then I asked a fisherman to modify his small boat to look like a canoe. My work paid off! Doubles from $900.
Ivan M. Frutos
Argentinean Flavor: On Friday nights, the hotel holds tango lessons in one of the hotel’s three restaurants and I serve an Argentinean Malbec. At the end of a stay, we send travelers home with maté and dulce de leche kits, which include handwritten time lines of the products’ history. Doubles from $480.
Going the Distance: The hotel doesn’t have a taxi queue, so over the past four decades I have run thousands of miles to grab taxis for travelers. That’s only one of the ways I try to make visitors feel well cared for. For example, a guest returned to the hotel many years after his last stay. Not only did I welcome him by name but I’d tucked away the gloves he’d left behind on his last visit—he’d moved, and we didn’t have the new address. They were already waiting for him in his room. Doubles from $364.
Server, Miyuki restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so
Years on the Job: 6
Cultural Immersion: Throughout the year, Miyuki restaurant offers sushi-making classes. Guests can also borrow kimonos, and I help them put the outfits on in an authentic way. Travelers can then pose for snapshots in our in-house photo studio. Doubles from $458.
Into the Wild: Sometimes we host dinners in a surprise location in the mountains of the Bushmans Kloof reserve, and I tend bar with an edited-down selection—it would be impossible to bring all of our wines to the mountain! Our staff performs gumboot dancing and African drumming while guests mingle before dinner. Doubles from $481.
Planning Ahead: If a guest is headed to Pink Beach or the 800-year-old Kauri Tree, I pack a bag with towels, bottled water, and a two-way radio in case of emergency. I also use the nightly cocktail hour to find out what everyone wants to do the next day: horseback riding? Clay shooting? And I introduce guests to other guests. Many end up having dinner or playing tennis together. Doubles from $842.